Visions of our android future

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in Culture, Featured | 0 comments

Visions of our android future

I started to play Detroit – Becoming Human and the start of the game introduces us to a world in which most of the work is done by androids. The designers paid attention to portraying every day life with androids. They show androids in the roles of care taker, cleaner, construction worker, but also as a companion. Many humans are without a job but still enjoy an android cleaning their mess. Of course this whole setup is a typical in-out-group setup. But if this is the future we are working towards then we will also have to address these questions. What if there is no more work left for humans? What if we like interacting with androids more than with other humans? Here are some of my highlights of everyday life in the game so far:

Android Parking

Detroit: Become Human

Android compartment in the back of the bus

The androids have to enter the public bus at the rear and are standing in a segregated compartment that is divided by a glass wall. This is of course a reference to Rosa Park who refused to give put her seat in the colored section of a bus for a white person in 1955.

Detroit: Become Human

An article on how autonomous cars make life and death decisions

The game features an article on how autonomous vehicles make life and death decisions by considering a wealth of background information to calculate the value of a person.

How machines make life and death decisions

Here is the text of the virtual news article:

When a driverless vehicle foresees an accident, the car’s computer makes life and death decisions – for example deciding which of two pedestrians to hit. But the exact process by which cars make these decisions is not very well understood.

Martin Forlong, of CrowneCars, tries to clarify: “In these situations, the car’s imaging system gathers data to determine, the pedestrian’s age, gender, life Expectancy, etc, in the blink of an eye.” This data is parsed through the public I record “to determine marital status, employment record, life expectancy and whether they have children.” The car then assigns a ‘value’ to each possible victim based on criteria like their contribution to society: “we put a premium on lives that will save other lives, like doctors and nurses.”

All this may sound very reasonable. But Felix Gamble, head of Anti-Automation League (AAL) says the system has no rights to make such judgements: “Somebody with a criminal record is not necessarily less I valuable to society than a doctor. That kind of information is irrelevant to the sanctity of human life.”

But Forlong dismisses such claims: “We want our cars to make the best possible i choices, and that means acting on the basis of all the information they can gather. The more, the better.”

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